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China Industrial Output, Retail Sales Growth Weakens

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China's industrial production and retail sales growth eased more-than-expected in April, suggesting weak economic activity at the start of second quarter.

Industrial production advanced 5.4 percent year-on-year in April, following March's 8.5 percent increase, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics showed
Wednesday. The growth rate was forecast to slow moderately to 6.5 percent.

Likewise, annual growth in retail sales eased to 7.2 percent from 8.7 percent a month ago. Sales were expectet to expand 8.6 percent.

Another data showed that fixed asset investment climbed 6.1 percent during January to April period compared to the 6.3 percent expansion logged in January to March period. Economists had forecast 6.4 percent growth.

In a separate communiqué, NBS said property investment increased 11.9 percent in four months to April following the 11.8 percent rise in January to March period.

Nonetheless, the statistical office said the economy continued its overall steady and progressive development in April.

Growth should stage a mild recovery in the second half of this year assuming further easing, Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said. But with the scale of stimulus likely to remain smaller than in previous downturns, a strong recovery is not anticipated.

The surveyed jobless rate dropped to 5 percent in April from 5.2 percent in March, data showed.

Economic data came a day after the China retaliated against the US administration by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of imports. The Trump administration had earlier raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

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